The Centre must show the iron will to resolutely deal with naxal terror. Union Home minister Rajnath Singh affirmed that Left Wing Extremism will be dealt a crippling blow to avenge their attack.
Simultaneously, a detailed review of the procedures adopted so far as well as evolving fresh guidelines will be undertaken soon so that they are not caught unawares when an ambush takes place.
Reports said some of the bodies of the CRPF men were found mutilated. For the families of the 26 Central Reserve Police Force men killed by the extremists in Sukma, Chattisgarh, the pain is not only acute but debilitating.
CRPF men are dying across the country in the ‘red corridor’ in five states apart from those being posted in J&K as well as the Northeast. The loss in Sukma brings to the fore yet again the abject failure of successive governments to evolve an efficient policy in tackling the Maoist menace rearing its ugly head at regular intervals taking a heavy toll of police personnel. Survivors of the current attack who had served in J&K found that their posting in the sensitive border state was better than that in Chhattisgarh. They drew pointed attention to the lack of intelligence and the poor roads particularly in the thickly wooded zones.
Amid the refrain and condemnation about the cold blooded murder of the cops, there is invariably the demand that the Army be called in to tackle the situation.
From all accounts this is a replay of the attack in April 2010 when the rebels attacked and killed 75 CRPF men who had taken a break as evidenced in the present instance as well. The discriminating believe that southern Chhattisgarh is today the most heavily patrolled place in the country barring J&K.
The beleaguered Maoists have also lost several hundreds of their cadre as well as leaders over the years. In a fresh strategy Maoists have decided to use hundreds of their cadre for operations aimed at inflicting heavy casualties along with gathering weapons and ammunition. The Maoists want to strengthen themselves by laying siege to new areas to relieve the pressure faced by them.
The problem in Chhattisgarh pertain to lack of coordination between the paramilitary organisation and the state police. At the time of the Sukma attack earlier this week on April 25, the CRPF was without a chief for nearly two months. It got a chief two days after the Sukhma tragedy when a 1983 batch IPS officer
Rajiv Raj Bhatnagar was made its DG.
Exploitation of tribals by Maoists in various ways like providing food and compelling them to act as informants. They have also been used as human shields during police operations. There are instances of tribal children being inducted by Left Wing Extremists in Chattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand known as
‘Bal Dasta’ or ‘Bal Sangham’.
As evidenced during the stewardship of undivided Andhra Pradesh by the late chief minister Y Rajasekhar Reddy or YSR, a targetted force snuffed out the Maoist problem by sustained development particularly in areas where the rebels had been driven out. The measures encompassed building roads, police stations, schools and healthcare centres which became part of the strategy of defeating Left Wing Extremism.
If security forces attack ordinary villages they will be playing into the hands of the Maoists. The state needs to secure law and order along with ensuring justice to all.
(T R Ramachandran is senior journalist and commentator. Views are personal.)